Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 - Women's Review
Cons: Lacks an aggressive outsole, unstable, non-specific fit
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nike Wildhorse Zoom 5 is a lightweight shoe that offers more protection for heel-strikers, and is best used as a shoe to either wear around town or take on dirt roads. It is comfortable and responsive but needs work on its stability.
The foot protection is just okay in this shoe, protecting you from trail hazards that you might encounter on your adventure. The main form of protection comes in the midsole containing responsive cushioning and a rock plate. It is stacked with 28mm of cushioning in the heel with 20 mm in the forefoot. The cushioning itself is airy and responsive, wrapping itself around less obtrusive trail hazards that you might find.
The upper mesh is well designed, keeping out fine particulates that you might encounter in clay or sand-laden soils in the desert. The upper wraps the foot, keeping all of this stuff out. The upper also has a water-resistant overlay that does a decent job wicking water around the perimeter of the shoe body.
However, the upper material itself is more absorbent, which we learned on a trail run after rains left some puddles on the trail. The toe cap is super flexible, so it doesn't offer a whole lot of protection from stubbed toes, unfortunately. Overall, foot protection is just okay.
This shoe offers a good level of sensitivity, allowing you to feel the trail well. The foam used is more responsive, so it does protect from this sensitivity more in comparison to thinner designs.
We don't like the traction of this shoe. The waffle-like design easily gets debris and mud stuck between the lugs, and the lugs themselves don't grab the trail very well.
On a recent steep run, we found ourselves slipping all over the place while heading uphill on a gravel-laden trail. The outsole does stick well to wet surfaces, but we deem it best for non-technical surfaces due to this experience.
While we originally thought this shoe would show great stability, but we were surprised when it didn't perform well in this metric. It has a higher heel-toe drop (8 mm), which almost pushes you forward; this would normally be okay if the toe box was a little wider. Unfortunately, it constricts at the top, causing our toes to feel cramped. This resulted in less balance from the "pushing" force behind. The shoe is also not very flexible, so it doesn't wrap around trail hazards easily, causing some instability and a need for attention upon landing.
Comfort & Fit
In general, comfort elements are pretty awesome, but the fit is finicky. The foam is ultra-responsive, the materials are smooth and comfortable against the skin, and it's comfortable to wear simply as a shoe for work or around town all day.
The fit is best for a narrow to regular sized foot. While the toe box does feel a little wide, it tapers to a point at the top, which causes some squish. There is a little support under the arch, but the shoe is best for a neutral fit. The lacing system is pretty non-specific and doesn't totally lock the foot down, which affects stability and protection. Overall, comfort and fit are about average, with the comfort elements being a little above average.
This is a lightweight shoe weighing just 9.0 oz for a size nine. This makes it light enough to wear all day. It's also a favorite amongst our testers as a racing shoe or its weightless construction.
The Wildhorse offers a promising value and one that is nearly worthy of an award. However, the Wildhorse fell short in a few metrics and landed toward the bottom of the pack in overall performance. In general, it's not as durable, so don't expect to get 500+ miles out of it. Those that would find the most value are ladies who prefer lightweight performance and don't need an aggressive outsole. A perfect ride for less technical trails littered with rocks and dirt.
The Nike Wildhorse Zoom 5 offers a comfortable ride that is best for non-technical terrain and dirt roads. It performs well on zoomy track and hard-packed trails where you might encounter a few trail hazards.
— Amber King